The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips as LA Lakers host old foes Boston Celtics at Staples Center.
12:00 (AEST), Fri 16th Apr @ Staples Center, Los Angeles
History: Played 367: Celtics 204 V Lakers 163
Last meeting: January 30, 2021: Lakers 96 V Celtics 95 at TD Garden
Final Thoughts: The under-strength LA Lakers are searching for back-to-back win for the first time this month, while the in-form Boston Celtics are gunning for five straight victories.
The 34-21 Lakers – now fifth in the West and still without LeBron James and Anthony Davis – have battled on gamely. They have won six of their last 10, but have been stuck in a win-loss pattern since late-March.
Kyle Kuzma (24 pts) and Dennis Schroder (19 pts, 6 ast) led a 101-93 win over the Hornets two days ago to end a seven-game roadstand on a high. The recently-acquired Andre Drummond has averaged 11.3 rebounds in the Lakers’ last four games.
Kuzma, Schroder, Drummond and Markief Morris have all been listed as questionable for this clash.
The 29-26 Celtics have climbed to fifth in the East with six wins from their last seven games. They are coming off back-to-back away victories over West hopefuls the Nuggets (105-87) and Trail Blazers (116-115).
Jayson Tatum has been on a tear. He scored 60 points and had 19 rebounds across the wins in Denver and Portland, while he went off for 53 points in an OT success against the Timberwolves last week.
Jaylen Brown’s fine season rolls on, averaging 24.3 points and 5.7 rebounds. Veteran back-court linchpin Kemba Walker has also run into form after a chequered start to the campaign.
The Lakers have won four of the archrivals’ last five games, including a 96-95 eclipse in Boston earlier this season. But it was Davis (27 pts, 14 reb) and James (21 pts, 7 reb, 7 ast) who spearheaded the come-from-behind result. Tatum (30 pts, 9 reb) shone in a losing Celtics effort.
The Lakers are 16-11 at home this season (11-16 against the spread) and have won five of their last seven at Staples. The Celtics are 12-16 on the road, overall and ATS, but they have won their last four away.
The patched-up Lakers have been brave. But the full-strength Celtics have considerable momentum and look the goods to break the hosts’ resolve.
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